Yup, that is most certainly me looking extra nerdy snazzy in a Krannert Center
ushering uniform for our News-Gazette feature last year.
Don't be freaked out by the word "etiquette"—this isn't Downton Abbey, and there isn't a whole system of dos and dont's you have to memorize.  But the position of usher in a performing arts venue is a formal one, so there are just a few things to keep in mind that might seem a little unusual at first, but will come easily to you after your first couple of shifts.

Krannert Center will provide a black vest.  Here's what you'll need to add to your packing list:
  • A white, long-sleeved dress shirt (blouse, regular button-up like I'm wearing in the above photo, etc.)
  • Black dress bottoms (pants or skirt/hose is fine)
  • Black dress shoes
  • Black ties are optional
  • Jewelry and hair pieces are fine
Here are some examples of things that DON'T fit this dress code:
  • Short-sleeved/sleeveless shirts (3/4 is fine)
  • Black jeans or leggings
  • Gym shoes
  • High heels, while acceptable if they're formal, are strongly discouraged since they impede your ability to move quickly and stand for long periods of time

When you sign up for a show, the signup start time is something we refer to as a "call time".  Usually set 45min to an hour before the show, this is when you need to be ready to start your shift.  It is NOT merely the time you need to get to Krannert Center—the call time is when you will meet with your supervisor and your fellow ushers for the evening.  Thus, you need to be sure that you arrive at Krannert with enough time to check in and pick up your vest BEFORE the call time.

We generally recommend arriving 10-15min before the call time.  Call times vary from show to show, so check the SignUpGenius slot to be sure!

I've been singing in choirs for almost 10 years now, so the whole
"5 minutes early is 10 minutes late" thing just became a part of my routine.
I have to consciously force myself to be "fashionably late" for social gatherings.

Your job is basically to interact with patrons, help the Krannert staff keep the seating process running smoothly, and set a good example for proper performance etiquette.  Since Krannert asks that patrons do not use their phones during performances, it's a good idea for ushers to not use their phones while they are on their shifts (even if you're not in the theatre yet).  Krannert shows are a good reason to "unplug" anyway!

All this technology can be so overwhelming.
Photo comes from the BBC
In our email newsletter (which you can subscribe to here—hint hint), I have a "Tip of the Week" section where I write about various things related to ushering, registration, general meetings, policies KCSA has as an RSO, and general Krannert Center hacks.  I always welcome suggestions, too!

These are just a few major things that sometimes trip people up (even the experienced ushers).  We understand humans are fallible, so don't feel like you have to behave like the #1 perfect usher 100% of the time.  Some general effort into dressing and behaving appropriately will go a long way in making everyone's experience—yours and the patrons'—more enjoyable.  And that's what it's all about, right?

Please contact us if you have any questions!  Or, better yet: write them down and bring it up at our Info Meeting.  If you're wondering, other people probably are as well.

Megan Vescio
KCSA President